Why Parental Alienation Is Harmful To Children's Psychological Health

Divorce or separation can be psychologically draining to both the spouses and their kids. What's worse, high-conflict cases of such may spur on the alienating mother or father to brainwash the youngsters that the targeted parent never wanted them and worse, never really loved the children.

In some instances, the alienating parent creates a huge gap by threat, urging the kids to cut off ties with the other parent. The rift may cause dramatics changes to the children's attitude, outlook in life and their relationship with the targeted parent.

According to Psychology Today, the severe effects of parental alienation on children are well-documented. These are low self-esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give love and accept love from a parent.

Statistics show that parental alienation is more prevalent than what's typically presumed. Increasing cases of this problem are reported in 11-15 percent of divorces involving children.

One of the statics involves a woman called "Alison." The parent has not seen her two sons for seven years after marriage woes hit the court. Her estranged husband would make allegations that she'd hit her boys and kept them away from her. The youngsters, as a result, showed deep-seated aversion towards her and refused to see her again despite the fact that the judge granted her rights to equal parental responsibility.

Alison tells BBC News that she writes to her children every month, but says the process is "beyond heartbreaking" as she knows so little about them. Alison says, "I don't know what their interests are, who their friends are."

Despite the cold-shoulder treatment, the mother of 2 still reminds her sons that she will be there for them when they need her. Every day, she kisses a photo of her boys on the computer screen goodnight. That's the only way she can show her love to them, though Alison yearns to give so much more.

Parental alienation is a mental incapacity of the opposing father or mother to move on to a healthy relationship with a spouse for the good of the children. Such deliberate act is selfish, as in truth, this hurts all members of the family except the controller.

Fortunately,thanks to the efforts of Bernet, Baker, and colleagues, the spirit of parental alienation recently made its way into the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM), even if the exact term "parental alienation" has not. There are now diagnoses that reflect the mental illness of this terrible phenomenon, in particular parent-child relational problem and child affected by parental relationship distress, The Huffington Post informs.

Parental alienation not only affects today's kids, but the future generation as well. Fifty percent of the respondents in Baker's studies have shown cases of adults, who have experienced this ordeal, who have also been alienated from their children later in life.

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